10 June 2012

Semakau with TeamSeagrass

A wonderful blue sky day with TeamSeagrass at Pulau Semakau!
It was good to see nice long Tape seagrasses in the meadows, and everyone had great sightings after the work was done.

The Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) in the middle of the meadows are nice and long.
But along the edges of the seagrass meadows, much of the Tape seagrasses were cropped and burnt. More about the seagrass situation today at Pulau Semakau on the TeamSeagrass blog.
Some interesting sightings near my transect line was a cute little Noble volute (Cymbiola nobilis)!
It was good to see some of the special anemones that we had encountered at this site previously. A nice large Fire anemone (Actinodendron sp.)! As its name suggests, we should NOT touch this.
The Magnificent anemone (Heteractis magnifica) was also still there.
On the way back, we had a short stop to check out a reefy area nearby. The Bubble tip anemone (Entacmea quadricolor) is still there too! Alas, we couldn't find the seahorses that are usually here. But Marcus at Site 2 saw one in their transect line!
But we did find several tiny little Phyllidiella pustolosa nudibranchs!
There was also a pretty pink Frilly sea anemone (Phymanthus sp.) in the sand.
There were also many Giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea). Jose saw one that might have had a clown anemonefish!
I didn't have time to look closely at the reefs, but the short stretches that I saw had corals that seem to be doing well. It was great to see nice colonies of less common corals like the Brain coral (Family Mussidae) and Carnation coral (Pectinia sp.).
I took the opportunity to have a quick look at rare mangrove trees at Semakau. The larger Api-api jambu (Avicennia marina) is doing well, although there were few fruits on it today.
The smaller tree nearer the high shore is doing very well and seems much bushier. It too didn't have any fruits. Perhaps they will fruit later on. These trees are listed as Critically Endangered and the largest number of these trees are found on Pulau Semakau!
Another special mangrove tree on this shore are the Vulnerable Bakau pasir (Rhizophora stylosa). They were producing lots of seedlings! Good to know.
TeamSeagrass is a volunteer programme that monitors many of our shores including Pulau Semakau, Chek Jawa and Cyrene Reef. Here's more about how to join TeamSeagrass

Today, there was a big team out on Pulau Semakau with Zeb Hogan, led by the Nature Society (Singapore) team for their nature documentary contest event. Marcus had a nice long chat with Zeb too. In the news, Zeb says "I was surprised when I came to Semakau because it's a landfill - Semakau Landfill. I didn't know what to expect and being out here, there's so much life out here. That was the most surprising thing. The biodiversity here, in the inter-tidal zone in Semakau, is equally rich to what I've seen in other areas in other inter-tidal zones. So, that was surprising, seeing so many different kinds of sponges, crabs, different species of shrimps, many different species of fish, very rich life."

Today, news is out that the big lagoon in the landfill will be partitioned and used for depositing the ash from our incinerators. The landfill is fast filling up! Although it is expected to meet Singapore's needs until 2024, if we want to avoid expanding the landfill further after that, which would destroy the seagrasses and other marine life on Pulau Semakau, we need to intensify efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle!

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